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Ask the iTunes Guy: Coping with iTunes features that have disappeared

Kirk McElhearn | July 27, 2015
Whenever a new version of iTunes rears its head, new features are added, but also some features get cut. In this week's column, I look at several of these features that are missing in action. In some cases--such as shuffling all music by an artist in the iOS Music app, or streaming Beats 1 radio over AirPlay--I offer a workaround. For another, I can only lament that certain useful features have been axed.

With artists, this doesn't seem to work. If I tell Siri to "Shuffle music by Hot Tuna," it grabs music from Apple Music rather than from my iOS device. And even after I turned off Apple Music, it still played music that was not on my device. (That must be a bug...)

But I found a way to get this to work. Start playing any song or album, and then tap the shuffle icon. Switch to the Artists list, and tap "..." after an artist's name. Tap Play next or Add to Up Next.

Tap the now playing strip near the bottom of the screen, above the tab bar. You'll see that the shuffle button is visible, and engaged, and the Music app plays songs by that artist in shuffle mode. You cannot, however, turn off shuffle.

This is odd behavior, and it's probably a bug.

AirPlay and Beats 1 radio

Q: When I am at home I play music from iTunes and stream it to my stereo via AirPlay. However, when I select the Beats 1 radio station the AirPlay control disappears and I can only play it through my computer. As a workaround I can click on the volume control while holding down the Option key, and choose the Apple TV that's connected to my stereo, but this directs all system sound to my stereo, including beeps, alerts, etc. Is this intentional? Is there any way I can stream just Beats 1 radio over AirPlay?

You've hit on something interesting. I use AirPlay a lot too, and I was quite surprised when I first noticed this behavior. Once you start playing Beats 1, the AirPlay icon disappears from the iTunes toolbar. I don't know if this is intentional, but I can't imagine why this would happen if it weren't a conscious decision by Apple; after all, you can stream all the other Apple Music Radio stations.

As you said, there is a workaround. To do this, you must first display the Volume menu extra. Go to System Preferences, click Sound, and check Show Volume in menu bar. You'll see a small icon showing the current volume level in your menu bar. If you click this icon, you can change the volume; but if you press the Option key, and then click the icon, you can change which output is used.

As you say, this means you'll hear system beeps and alerts, but you can turn these off so you can stream just Beats 1.

 

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